Friday, April 8, 2011

The remodel is nice, but it's still the E.R.

Our pediatrician feels like if Luke is fighting a sinus infection (most likely reason for his symptoms), his course of antibiotics wasn't long enough and put us on another 10-day course of Amoxicillin. Let's pray this round kicks some virus booty. I am tired of Luke not feeling very good, and I know he is too!


Almost four years after our last stint in the E.R., we were back on Wednesday night. Remember the endless coughing I posted about earlier? Well, that had seemed to clear with a 10-day course of Amoxicillan. We finished his last dose Monday night and by Tuesday, his cough had started to come back slowly but surely. Tuesday night we heard it intermittently through the night, but figured it was just residue from his upper respiratory infection. Wednesday afternoon, Luke seemed a bit off to me, but again, I didn't give it too much thought. We put him to bed Wednesday night and within 30 minutes, he had woken himself up with a giant coughing spell, resulting in a vomiting spell with lots of mucus. After we showered, Roger and I felt like if he needed a stronger antibiotic, or a longer course, we should get that going as soon as possible, so we headed to our Puyallup Convenience Care clinic around 8:45pm. We also feel like whenever a cough is involved, we want Luke's chest listened to as much as possible.

What we thought would be a quick listen, sat check and prescription turned in to a 4 hour visit to the (beautifully remodeled!) E.R. The doc at convenience care heard crackling in Luke's lower lungs and felt very strongly that we needed a chest x-ray. "Okay, we will call our cardiologist and he will probably order us a chest x-ray for the morning." The doctor obviously didn't like this plan and proceeded to tell us that we needed to get to the E.R. tonight and did we know this could be a possible symptom of congestive heart failure? Now there was no part of us, knowing our son the way we do, that thought these symptoms were cardiac related, but when an M.D. is telling you to drive straight to the E.R., you drive straight to the E.R.

After a few minutes of computer games and a few Sun Chips, we were called back to the intake room, where again Luke was hooked up to a sat probe (low for Luke at 74), his chest was listened to (sounded clear to this nurse) and his temperature taken (normal). We were sent back out to the waiting room where we checked out the fish tanks before we were called back to our room, where you guessed it, Luke's sat's were checked again and another nurse listened to Luke (she couldn't hear any crackling or wheezing either). Everything was moving so quickly, we thought this might be the quickest E.R. visit in history, but then the waiting began.

A lot of time was spent on this magnet game:

And even more time was spent taking pictures with my phone:

Finally, the x-ray tech came to take Luke and Daddy to the torture chamber. This truly was the only part of the night that brought Luke to tears. He was such a superstar for the time of night it was and for how many people needed to touch him. I was so, so proud of him and I couldn't help but think of the healing that God has worked on his emotional heart. I feared for a long time after his surgeries that Luke would always deal with doctor anxiety, but as long as you assure him there won't be any shots, he does really well, even with doctors he doesn't know.

Luke and Rog came back to the room around 10:45 and we didn't see the doc with the results until about 12:30am. This doc, along with the radiologist, both declared Luke's lungs to be clear and even though his sats were running low (anywhere from 74-80 throughout the night), the doctor felt really comfortable sending us home, seeing his color looked good, he wasn't laboring to breathe, etc. But first she needed to confirm with the cardiologist on call that they were comfortable with those sats. So we waited a bit longer to get the final "go home". Luke must have heard us talking about how nice the rooms were compared to the old E.R. because when we were starting to check out he said, "I think I want to stay here. The rooms are just so beautiful!" Love this kid. This enthusiasm was after two hours spent fielding the "When can we get outta here?" question.

Four hours in the E.R. and we headed home (after saying goodbye to the fish) with a diagnosis of an upper respiratory infection and instructions to follow up with our pediatrician in the next day or two.

Yesterday, I called Dr. Obayashi (the cardiologist who was on-call Wednesday night) to ask him if he could take a look at Luke's x-ray and possibly compare it to his last couple. He called back and told me that his Wednesday x-ray was beautiful and was unchanged from his last four chest x-rays.

Lesson re-learned: Pediatricians who don't know Luke will always err on the extreme side of caution. I'm not angry at this doc (well, I was, but I've worked through that =), this is just part of having a child with a complex CHD. She did what she felt was right and we were glad, even after the fact, even at 1:30 am when we were driving home, that we went to the hospital that night.

And Luke? He calls it our big adventure and he's pretty proud that he stayed up, "almost til morning!" He is such an aware kid who doesn't want to miss anything. Of course he couldn't fall asleep in the E.R. but fell asleep within two minutes of being in the car.

Luke is still coughing a bit and we will follow up with his pediatrician today and his cardiologist next Wednesday. I'm hoping the pediatrician will have some ideas on why this is hanging on so long and if there's anything we can give him. I promise you, I will not shed one tear when this cold and flu season is finally over.


  1. I bet you were beat yesterday! Sorry to have to go to the ER, that's always scary...we've had a few trips ourselves, not for a couple of years though. Luke is hilarious! I love his enthusiasm and sweetness. He's such a love. So glad his lungs were clear and hopefully this round of antiobiotics will do the trick! Yuck!!!

  2. I am so glad he is improving. We will be sure to pray for a complete and quick recovery!
    Heart hugs,

  3. Never a dull moment, right? So glad all is well and you are so right, doctors that don't know our kids tend to really overreact when something isn't right. I am so thankful to have our San Antonio cardiologist's cell phone number! Ha! I know she'll regret giving that to me. ;-) Luke is the sweetest and cutest! Love that he said the rooms were beautiful. How cute! I have to meet this kid one day...

  4. I believe we have a budding photographer in the making. Great pictures, Luke!